New Jersey teacher charged with sexually abusing student at a Catholic school, SNAP responds
For Immediate Release March 18, 2022
Catholic school teacher James Falletti was arrested on Monday. The Elmwood Park police began investigating the teacher last August after receiving a complaint that Falletti had sexually assaulted a child on June 8, 2017, at St. Leo’s Catholic School in the Archdiocese of Newark. The young victim told police that he was at an after-school program taking care of animals in the teacher’s classroom when Falletti showed him a pornographic video and then assaulted him “in the back of the classroom.”
The married Falletti taught science and world languages for almost seven years at St. Leo's, beginning in 2010. The teacher left St. Leo's for Corpus Christi Catholic School in Hasbrouck Heights in July 2017 -- the month after the child sex assault was said to have occurred. Also according to his resume, Falleti worked at Corpus Christi for at least 4 years and nine months. NJ Advance Media reported that the teacher was still listed as a faculty member at the school on March 16, 2022.
We applaud every person who has cooperated or is cooperating with this investigation. But this is exactly the kind of crime that Catholic bishops constantly assure us no longer happens. Since 2002, they have promised to protect children who attend Church institutions. We urge Archdiocesan officials in Newark to explain whether or not they knew about the accusation in 2017, and if so, how Falletti was able to quickly and quietly move immediately to another Catholic school. To us, when quick transitions follow a complaint, it is a red flag that perhaps the move has been made to cover up a scandal.
While the Archdiocese of Newark said Wednesday that Falletti ``has not been active as a teacher in any archdiocesan school since August 2021," this flies in direct conflict with both the information on Falletti's resume and on the Corpus Christ website. Although asserting that, "Appropriate actions were taken in response to the matter, with our highest priority being the safety of the children entrusted to our care," we are not entirely sure that this was the case. We also wonder whether parents at both schools were notified of the allegations back in August.
We urge Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark to not only provide more information about Falletti's work history in the Archdiocese but also do outreach at every Archdiocesan school where Falletti worked if this has not already been done. The Cardinal should personally visit these facilities and beg emphatically and repeatedly for anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered crimes by Falletti to call the police immediately.
By our accounting, this arrest makes the 10th Catholic clergy member or staffer to be charged in 2022. If children are to be kept safe and these accused perpetrators effectively prosecuted, it is absolutely crucial that Catholic officials aggressively seek out anyone with suspicions about or knowledge of the alleged crimes. Passively sitting back is simply callous and irresponsible.
CONTACT: Mark Crawford, SNAP New Jersey Leader ([email protected], 732-632-7687) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)